My continuation of Sharon Astyk’s now-completed “Independence Days” project (June-Aug 2022), which offered a framework for recognising how we’re building resiliency, community, and accountability that will make our lives better now and in the future. Many of Sharon’s categories are (or could be) related to gardening, so it seems to fit here on this blog. Equally, none of them has to do with gardening. They’re all multifaceted.

  • Plant something: plant, start something

I planted the two drumstick primula on Monday — they are dying back now with their early bloom time + heavy frost on Thursday morning. Still need to plant the “Cherries Jubilee” baptisia, some petunia starts (after Thursday, with lows in 30s), and I have some tender veggie/flower starts (tomatoes, basil, nasturtium, plus parsley) ready next week or weekend.

drumstick primula – 15 May

I began the season of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on Monday, 15 May. Each 15th of the month, a group of us publishes a post about what’s flowering in our gardens, around the world. Here in USDA Hardiness Zone 5a, I usually begin posting for GBBD in May or June and end in Sept. or Oct., whenever the flowers (or pretty leaves) end. Some folks in warmer climes post year ’round.

Bedrock Garden in Lee, NH, began its season with a members’ opening on Tuesday, which we attended. I’m planning a separate photo-heavy “field trip” post on that.

  • Harvest something: harvest, forage or glean

Harvested some chives for an appetizer I made on Wednesday (see photo below under “Eating the Food”). We called dibs on a small flat-screen tv and dvd player a friend is giving away. That same friend gave us four petunia starts to plant.

  • Preserve something: food or local community resource

Preserve local resources: We’re members of a small public garden, Bedrock Gardens in Lee, NH, which we visited on Tuesday. We became members in 2015, around the time the property (including the barn, Parterre Garden, and patio by the house) was opened to the public occasionally by the two people (a couple) who developed the garden, Jill Nooney & Bob Munger.

Photos from Bedrock Gardens in mid-July 2015 and this week.

After our visit, we ate inside a very spacious and virtually empty local-to-Epping restaurant, the Holy Grail, on Tuesday afternoon.

Bought items on Wed. from local bakery, ate outside local bakery on Friday morning, and bought veggies from local farmstand on Thursday.

Preserve sanity: Our visit to Bedrock Gardens on Tuesday was a great mind-heart-body paradoxical infusion of energy and calm.

Got some warm fuzzies from an in-person get-together with four other permaculture members on Thursday here, and then three other Salon members here on Friday. Took walks in town on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

  • Waste Not: reduce waste, reuse, salvage, repair, give away to an actual person

We tried to salvage the budding lilac blooms from the 28°F temperatures early on Thursday morning, spending over an hour in very windy cold weather — wind chill likely in the 20°s — on Wed. afternoon trying to cover them with large lightweight plastic bags and other materials, the plastic & the blooms both moving targets and us on ladders. I’m not sure it helped or even mattered. Normally I wouldn’t have bothered for 28°F but the forecast was for 26°F, which our home weather station says we didn’t hit. Now I might not go to all the trouble until the forecast is 25°F or below.

covering lilac buds from frost – 17 May
  • Want Not: food and emergency supplies, increase economic security, reorganize to use/waste less

Another shipment from Subscribe & Save arrived this weekend, including a bag of cat food, several teas, nuts, tuna, sponges, and vitamin C throat drops. I also stocked up on some things from the co-op about 40 minutes away on Monday and again on an unexpected visit on Wednesday.

I read and will need to re-read and take notes on Sharon Astyk’s recent essay, Doom in Five…Four…Three…Two…One…, detailing what to do in emergency situations that aren’t the actual end of the entire world — “fire, flood, chemical contamination, tornado, hurricane, power outage, a bomb, civil conflict” — where either evacuating or staying in place is required, when we have 5 minutes to act, 30 minutes, 2 hours, 6-12 hours, and 24 hours or more. I already have some things in place for a quick getaway and for staying in place with grid disruption but I need to think and prepare to optimise my time in these scenarios.

  • Eating The Food: shop the pantry, new recipes, creative use of leftovers, help feed others

I didn’t time food well this week: we ended up with lots of leftovers that all needed to be eaten in a few days. Because I was at the co-op (40 mins away) on Monday, I bought ready-made Indian dinners, which we each ate half of, creating another leftover dinner, and because we went to a restaurant on Tuesday at 3 p.m., we didn’t eat at home that day/night and we brought home more leftovers, none of which we could eat for Wed. dinner because we were invited to dinner at a friend’s that night (yay). So some leftovers were eaten for lunches, and some for Thursday and Friday dinners. On Saturday, my husband still had leftovers for dinner and I made cacio e pepe with shrimp and local asparagus for me and for our Sunday and Monday dinners.

Meanwhile I have canned crab (the kind that needs to be refrigerated and lasts only a couple of weeks) that’s reaching the end of its freshness, so I need to make crabcakes asasp; and because I happened unexpectedly to be in the town where the co-op was again on Wed., I bought two more (refrigerated) Indian dinners, which I would have frozen for later but the freezer was crammed. I might move them today since the freezer is less crowded and the crabcakes have to be the next things I make to avoid wasting all that crab, which would be sacrilege and dishonour. This is the most first-world kind of problem, too much sumptous food at once, and I’m properly embarrassed by the little headache and stress this mealtime puzzle and feeling of responsibility causes me.

I made a cute appetizer for dinner out on Wed., local asparagus steams and wrapped in buttered bread and tied with chives from the garden. Also served it to permaculture group on Thursday, along with a corn relish salad containing black beans, grape tomatos, avocado, cilantro.

appetizer – 17 May
  • Caregiving/Mutual Aid: contribute to community support systems, volunteer, mutual aid, advocate

Husband helped renovate a building at the car museum on Monday and Wednesday for about eight or nine hours total. I hope to pick up trash this coming week.

  • Skill up: particularly if they help us get along, grow, make our new reality better

I missed two webinars I’d signed up for this week, one on biodiversity because we were invited to dinner when it was scheduled and the other on native plants because I just forgot it. I can watch both on video and will.

Used Merlin app quite a lot this week; trying to ID vireos and veerys by ear, also song and swamp sparrows.

My cacio e pepe skills are still far from sufficient. I need to practice more <wink>.

  • Tend & Maintain: cleaning stuff, replacing supplies, car or bike maintenance, stuff to prevent failure/breaking/hassle down the line

Husband and I both had medical appointments this week, on Monday and Wed. I cleaned the cat’s litter box entirely on Saturday, an overdue chore. Outside, I watered seedlings and hanging baskets a few times and did some weeding, raking, cutting back, and pruning on Monday for an hour or two. Husband mowed the lawn and did some weed-whacking for first time this year on Sunday, and on Monday he removed brush/weed piles I’d created.

  • Winter is coming: making our relationships, family life, home, community, immediate surroundings, jobs better for a long and hard upcoming year or few years

Non-metaphorical winter persists, with the 28°F low this week, plus a few low temps in the 30°Fs this week and next.

Fun to have a small permaculture group here in person on Thursday and Salon here on Friday.

some of the permaculture food – 18 May

Really nice to have dinner at a friend’s on Wednesday evening.

Enjoyed an early spring garden tour with John Forti and about 15 other members at Bedrock Gardens on Tuesday.

tour at Bedrock Gardens – 16 May
John Forti chatting with group at Bedrock Gardens – 16 May

Sent a good friend turning 52 on Wed. a digital birthday card and a year-long membership in the digital card (and digital Advent calendar) club. Friends came over to look at our homemade vegetable garden fence on Friday afternoon, the same day our neighbours returned from their winter in Florida, yay. On Friday evening, we Zoomed with college friends, catching up for an hour and a half. I meditated and listened to a really great talk via Zoom sangha on “Prajna & Paradox” by Holly Gayley on Sunday, and afterward husband and I walked to a town cemetery and said hello to a few friends no longer with us.

Dharma Sunday – 21 May

We had a visit from the bear family on Saturday morning!

bears – 20 May

Featured image: Student Garden Art Show piece at Bedrock Gardens, Lee, NH, 16 May 2023

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